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Copyright 2015 Matthew Lowes

All Rights Reserved



geon are played underneath the delve from right to left,

with one turn for each turn of the delve except the
turn-around point. This is called the retreat. Below the
dungeon area, from left to right are a discard area, a hit
point counter, and a hand where you collect your
treasure, tomb hoards, skill cards, and magic scroll.

Tomb of Four Kings is a fantasy adventure card game

for a single player. With each turn, you defeat monsters, disarm traps, and open doors as you explore a
dark dungeon. Along the way you collect treasure, gain
skills, even use magic. But death awaits those who linger too long, and if all your torches burn out you will
be lost in the dungeon forever. The objective is to find
the tomb hoards of four ancient kings, collect as much
additional treasure as possible, and make it out alive.

Use a standard deck of 52 playing cards and one joker.
Pull out the 2-10 of hearts and stack them in order, all
face up, with the 10 on top. This is your hit point counter. The rest of the deck is shuffled and held face down,
ready to play cards off the top.

The Cards
2-10 of Spades


2-10 of Diamonds

Traps / Treasure

2-10 of Clubs

Sealed Doors

Jack of Spades

Go Berserk

Jack of Diamonds

Disarm Mechanism

Jack of Clubs

Pick Lock

Jack of Hearts

Dodge Blow


Divine Favors


Tomb Hoards




Scroll of Light

2-10 of Hearts

Hit Points

The spread is the standard layout for the game. At the
top of the spread is an area where you play torches (A),
as they appear. In the middle of the spread is the dungeon area itself. Turns descending into the dungeon are
played in a row from left to right. This row is called the
delve. The turns ascending from the depths of the dun-


During the turn, you must play cards from the deck or
hand until an encounter is resolved. Immediately play
any torches (A) that appear above the dungeon area,
and collect any skills (J) into your hand. A divine favor
(Q) automatically wins any encounter. If one appears
before the encounter card, keep playing cards until an
encounter appears, then end the turn. Tomb hoards
(K) and the Scroll of Light (Jk) are left in the turn as
treasure, and another card is played. A skill (J) of the
same suit as the encounter card can be played from the
hand to win the encounter.

The game is divided into turns. Each turn, you play a

series of cards in the dungeon area. The turn represents
an encounter as you explore the vast and sprawling
dungeon. Layer the cards in a column while the turn is
active. When the turn is over, stack those cards face
down before moving on to the next turn. Each turn
starts by playing cards from the deck until an encounter card appears.
The 2-10 of spades, diamonds, and clubs represent both
encounter cards or action cards depending on when
they appear in the turn. The first one to appear in the
turn is the encounter card for that turn. Subsequent
ones are action cards. To win an encounter, an action
card must be equal to or greater than the encounter
card. For encounter cards, the suit determines what
type of encounter it is: spades are monsters; diamonds
are trapped treasures caches; clubs are sealed doors. For
action cards, the face value is all that matters when
comparing it to the encounter card.

Encounters can be resolved in a variety of ways. Follow

the rules for monsters, traps, and sealed doors to play
out each encounter. When the turn is over, if the encounter was won, you can collect treasure cards into
your hand. Treasure includes any diamonds that appeared as an encounter or action card (2-10d), as well
as tomb hoards (K) and the Scroll of Light (Jk). Stack
the remaining cards face down to mark the turn. Note
that if the turn contains all treasure, one card must be
left behind to mark the turn.

The hand is where you collect your skills (J), treasure
(2-10d), treasure hordes (K), and the scroll of light (Jk).
The hand is placed face up on your right below the
dungeon area. Skills, treasure, and the Scroll of Light
can be played from the hand for various effects. If you
survive the dungeon, treasure, treasure hordes, and the
scroll can be added up for scoring.

The aces in the deck represent your supply of torches.
Whenever one appears, a torch has burnt out and the
card is played face up above the dungeon area to show
how many torches youve used up. If the 4th torch is
played, you are lost in the dark dungeon forever.
The Scroll of Light: The joker is a Scroll of Light. If it
appears, the scroll can be collected with treasure at the
end of the turn. If your 4th torch appears you may play
the scroll immediately in the torch area and place the
torch on the bottom of the deck. The scroll may only be
used once.

Start your game by playing a card from the deck in the
upper left corner of the dungeon area. This is the first
turn of the delve. If it is not an encounter card, play
additional cards on the turn until an encounter appears. Play until the encounter is resolved, and conclude the turn. The next turn is played immediately to
the right of the first turn. The delve represents going
deeper and deeper into the dungeon. Continue to play
turns from left to right until you decide to turn around
and retreat.

The jacks represents a variety skills. Jacks are collected
when they appear and may be played immediately or
held in the hand to be played later. Go Berserk (Js)
beats any monster; Disarm Mechanism (Jd) disables
any trap; and Pick Lock (Jc) opens any door. Dodge
Blow (Jh) is played on lost hit points to avoid one instance of damage. Each skill can only be played once.



The queens are the divine favors of the goddess. They

win any encounter on a turn in which they appear. If
any appear before the encounter card, the encounter is
automatically won when it appears. If two divine favors
appear on a single turn, there is no additional benefit
aside from being extra blessed in the encounter. Divine
favors can only appear once, and are turned face down
with the stack when the turn is concluded.

The 2-10 of hearts are stacked in order and placed face

up below the dungeon area with the 10 on top. These
are your hit point cards. When you are damaged by
monsters or traps, a number of hit point cards are
turned over equal to the damage. Damage is always
calculated by subtracting a failed action card from the
monster or trap card. When the 2 of hearts is turned
over, youre dead and the game is lost.

As encounters, the 2-10 of spades are guardian monsters. Any action card defeats the monster if it is equal
or greater than the monster card. If an action card is
less than the monster, you take damage equal to the
monster minus the action card. To win the encounter,
you must continue to play cards, taking damage as indicated, until you defeat the monster with an action
card, a divine favor, or Go Berserk (Js). When you defeat a monster, collect its treasure and end the turn.
Treasure Drop: If you dont think you can beat a monster, you have one chance to escape by dropping a
treasure card from your hand onto the turn. Monsters
love treasure and are easily distracted, giving you a
chance to run away. The treasure you drop must be
equal or greater than the monster card (kings are 10,
the joker is 6). This resolves the encounter, but you lose
treasure and cannot collect treasure from the turn.

As encounters, the 2-10 of diamonds are treasure traps.
You have only one chance to pass a trap, with a divine
favor, Disarm Mechanism (Jd), or a single action card.
If the trap is passed, the turn is over and you may collect the treasure. Note, however, that if the turn contains only treasure, you must leave one treasure card
behind to mark the turn. If the trap is not passed, you
take damage equal to the trap minus your action card.
The turn is over, no treasure is collected, and any
treasure showing must be turned face down in the stack
with the rest of the turn.

Once discarded, these cards may not be examined

again. Discards are lost and out of play. The turn is
over. No treasure is collected if the door remains
sealed. Any treasure that appeared must be turned face
down in the stack with the rest of the turn.

Turns are played from left to right as you continue the
delve, going deeper into the dungeon, but at some
point you have to turn around and retreat if you hope
to survive. Once a new delve turn is started it must be
completed, but you can decide to turn around after any
delve turn is complete. The decision to start the retreat
or play another turn on the delve must be made before
the first card of the next turn is revealed. The first turn
of the retreat is played underneath the penultimate turn
of the delve, such that no turn is underneath the turning-point. Retreat turns are played the same way as
delve turns, but are played from right to left below the
delve turns. If you complete a turn below turn one
without dying or getting lost in the dark, you have
made it out of the dungeon alive.

As encounters, the 2-10 of clubs are sealed doors. You
can play only one action card from the deck when trying to open such a door. If the door is opened, the turn
is over and you can collect any treasure inside. If the
door is not opened, unless you play Pick Lock (Jc), you
must discard a number of cards from the deck equal to
the door minus your action card.
Discards: The discard pile is made to your left below
the dungeon area. Look at each discard and play any
torches that appear. Then place the discards face down.


If youre a gambler, you can even play for money per

point against another players game. Highest total
points wins. Subtract the losers points from the winners points to determine debt. However, if the loser
has all four kings, the debt is cancelled. You set the
stakes, but keep it friendly.

If you make it out of the dungeon alive, add up all the

treasure in your hand. Each king is worth 10. The 2-10
of diamonds are worth face value. The Scroll of Light is
worth 6 if its in your hand. A total of 100 points are
possible. Scores are marked with two numbers divided
by a slash: kings found / total points. If you found all
four kings and survived, you have won the game, regardless of points. Multiply total points by 100 to calculate the value of your treasure in gold pieces.

Dungeon Solitaire can be played as a normal card
game, but is perhaps most enjoyable when you imagine
the narrative the game creates. Picture yourself standing at the entrance of the legendary Tomb of Four
Kings. As you delve its depths, imagine the sprawling
dark labyrinth of the dungeon around you, and picture
each battle, each poison arrow or dead-fall trap, each
gilded or ironwood door. Visualize the events as you
play each action. Look in wonder at the treasure hoards
of old, and rejoice at the divine favors of the goddess.
Feel the satisfaction of gaining skills and putting them
to good use. Sense the danger around every corner, the
risk of death, and the stark terror should your last torch
burn out. Imagine all this and joy will be yours should
you just make it out alive, no matter how much treasure you managed to find.

When playing for points, there are multiple challenge
available. To start, simply play to survive with as much
treasure as possible. Soon you will want to see if you
can find all four treasure hoards and win the game. Its
not easy. Like most solitaire games, there is some luck
involved, and you will only win occasionally, even if
you play your cards right. When you want an additional challenge, play for total points over a series of three,
five, or ten games. This provides incentive to survive,
even if you cant collect all the treasure hoards or get
your high score in the current game.


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